Physicists from Leiden University have developed and 3D-printed a miniature version of the USS Voyager from the show Star Trek Voyager. The idea of a tiny starship is probably something you have not heard of outside of a science fiction movie, but the model is actually a part of a larger research experiment. 

The ship is so small its size has to be measured in microns. It looks identical to the USS Voyager and is being used for microswimmer research. Microswimmers are a broad scientific category used to refer to organisms and objects that move through liquids. Your white blood cells could be considered microswimmers. This Voyager is propelled through liquid by chemical reactions between its platinum coating and the hydrogen peroxide solution it moves through. 

By studying the movements of these microswimmers, like the mini USSR, scientists can provide insights into their natural counterparts. However, futurists have also imagined possible futures where synthetic microswimmers could be part of targeted delivery systems for drug treatments and other therapies. These 3D printed models could be potentially useful for experiments in the future and the unusual shapes of these microswimmers can allow them to chart more specific and predesigned courses.

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JONATHAN HOFFMAN
Writer at The City Voice

11th grader who loves to swim and watch sports. I play the Tuba and I love meteorology. The best desert is donuts.

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